Offbeat February 11, 2010

Are champions born or made?

Are champions born or are they made

Are champions born or are they made? Is it genes which decide how gifted a sportsperson a child will grow up into, or the rigours of extensive training, or just experience? Indeed, what goes into the making of a champion? Ayaz Memon asks in the Mint.

How big a factor is economic well-being then? It’s a mixed bag really. In some cases, quite significant, especially to sports such as tennis, golf and swimming, but not quite so with cricket and football. Federer, for instance, comes from an upscale background; his father was an executive with a multinational pharma company which enabled not only access to facilities, but also expenses for coaching, etc. Ditto with Phelps in swimming and Woods in golf. But Bradman’s background was modestly rural middle class, while Tendulkar’s was modestly urban middle class. Ali, in contrast, was the son of a poor (in the American context) signboard painter from Louisville, while Maradona was even more underprivileged—he was the son of a bricklayer and came from the slums of Villa Fiorito outside Buenos Aires, Argentina.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo